Policy 19

University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Emergency Evacuation Responsibilities
Policy #19


Building fire alarms will be used to initiate evacuations of buildings in the event of fire, smoke, or hazardous material spill. Fire alarms will not be used during a tornado warning.

Faculty/Staff Role
Faculty and staff play a vital role in the success of an emergency evacuation. An emergency evacuation cannot be successful without the complete cooperation of all faculty and staff members.

Faculty and staff, as employees of UW-Parkside, have an obligation to help evacuate students and guests. To accomplish this, faculty and staff must be familiar with their evacuation routes before an alarm is sounded. Consult Emergency Information Signs posted in university buildings for evacuation routes.

Advise Students
It is important for instructors to advise their students on the first day of class about evacuation procedures. Stress the importance of evacuation, it can be the difference between life and death. Other staff members should advise students, new employees, and visitors of our evacuation procedures.

Fire Alarm Pull-Station
Knowing the location and operation of a fire alarm pull-station is essential. Instantly sounding the alarm at the first sign of fire, smoke or spilled chemicals is critical. Rapid initiation of an alarm may mean the difference between life and death.

When an emergency evacuation is required, the fire alarm must be sounded by activating a "pull-station." Alarm pull-stations are most commonly found near exits and stairwells. Simple directions on its use are written on the pull-station. Know where pull-stations are located in the areas that you frequent on campus.

The person who activates a fire alarm pull-station should call University Police from a safe location to report the nature of the emergency. That person should also meet emergency responders outside the building to inform them of the location of the emergency.

Upon hearing a fire alarm, faculty and staff must immediately begin evacuating the affected building. Notify persons with hearing impairments of the need to evacuate. Many things may have to be completed simultaneously. The following actions must be taken by faculty and staff during an evacuation.

  • Remain Calm
    Although the sounding of an alarm is stressful, remember to remain calm when the evacuation starts. Panic is contagious during a disaster. The antidote for panic is knowing what action to take and the confidence shown in providing directions to others. Your calm appearance and clear directions to others will help control the situation.
  • Stop
    Stop what you are doing. Instructors must stop class immediately. Staff members must cease working. Start the evacuation without hesitation. Do not call University Police to see if it is "real." Always assume it is!
  • Advise Students/Guests
    Advise students to take personal property that is within their reach and will not hamper the evacuation. Items such as jackets and books may be taken. Advise them where to meet outside the building. Faculty take your class rosters with you to account for your students.
  • Shut Equipment Off
    Quickly shut off hazardous equipment such as Bunsen burners and kilns in the science and art departments. This does NOT apply to large appliances that are normally left on such as refrigerators, computers, etc.
  • Close Doors/Windows
    Close all doors/windows as you leave. This will help contain the fire and smoke. DO NOT lock doors. Locked doors will hamper the response of emergency personnel.
  • Evacuate Students/Guests
    Faculty/staff should immediately begin to evacuate students/guests through the proper exits. The closest exit is the proper exit. Try to move with the flow of pedestrian traffic. People going in opposite directions leads to confusion. If an exit or stairway is becoming crowded, direct students/guests to the next safest and closest exit.
    Walk quickly and orderly to exit the building. Only persons with disabilities may evacuate to another building. All others must evacuate to the outside of the complex.
  • Do Not Use Elevators
  • Please use discretion before using an elevator during an emergency situation. Elevators can stall or stop during an emergency situation and become a deadly trap for the occupants.  Elevators are programmed to not stop on any floor where smoke is detected.
  • Persons With Disabilities
  • Assist persons with disabilities in exiting the building or move persons with mobility impairments to "Safe Haven"* areas and notify emergency responders of that person's location.
  • Keep Your Distance
    Evacuate and move away from the building to provide easy access for emergency responders. Faculty and staff must request that students/guests move away from the building.
    Never enter, or allow anyone to enter, a building when an alarm is sounding. Do not re-enter until emergency personnel announce that the building is "all-clear" or the alarm has been silenced.

* Contact the Safety Coordinator at extension 2262 for more information on "Safe Haven" areas.

Reference:  UWS Chapter 18.10(4)(g)


*Revised: Fall 1997, Spring 2022

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